Aid Organizations Under Fire

Transparency International’s annual Corruption Perceptions Index report listed Iraq and Afghanistan in the top five most corrupt countries. Both countries are on the receiving end of billions of dollars in foreign support, mostly from the U.S. Putting aside Taliban strongholds, the official Afghan government works closely with the U.S. — not surprising given common foreign policy and security issues, American financial contributions, and the ongoing military procedure in Afghanistan. Yet despite this partnership, which is professedly for the furtherance of democracy in Afghanistan, recent developments have revealed widespread fraud originating from current President Hamid Karzai.

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Weed, Prostitutes and International Law

Twelve trench coat-clad UC Irvine students pour into the unusually warm streets of Amsterdam’s Red Light District in search of Hotel The Globe. Through the cobblestone streets of the District, the wheels of our baggage click between stones and our eyes wander between old architecture and the streaming canal. It is March 20 and finals week exhaustion can barely penetrate the excitement of travel as we arrive at the hostel and recuperate for half an hour and reassemble downstairs.

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Dukakis on Feeding the Grass Roots

“I want to begin with an apology to all of you,” began former Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis at a special lecture to Professor Paul Wattenberg’s class “Introduction to American Government” on March 1. “If I had beaten Bush I,” he continued, “you would never have had a Bush II.” Laughter ensued.

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The Star-Spangled Truth: Reviewing the Ban on Photos of Soldiers’ Coffins

From the mountains of Afghanistan and the deserts of Iraq, fallen soldiers are quietly and discretely flown home. Together, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have claimed the lives of some 4,825 American soldiers since the initial invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. As casualties continue to rise on both civilian and coalition fronts, the media continues to debate policy issues in theoretical terms while following a Bush administration policy that bars photographers from taking images of the coffins of fallen soldiers. While there are many perspectives to consider over this issue, ultimately the Defense Department and the new administration should decide that the public should be exposed to images of fallen soldiers so that the visual reality of war is apparent for all to see.

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Pick a Passport, Any Passport: Common Spies Hide Their Travels

Interrogations, temporary detainment or warm welcomes. Sometimes you can decide your form of reception, though it often comes down to repressing one identity in favor of another. The selective use of a passport from multiple choices, for those able to obtain more than one, may be a matter of self-identification, depending on the circumstance and the location. For many living in the era of transnational terrorism, the process of traveling has become as much a matter of security as racial profiling. In some places, they are one and the same.

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